Frank Palumbo

Bulldogs finish season with first victory


By Ron Giofu


It was a rough season record-wise for the General Amherst Bulldogs boys basketball season but they finished off on the right note.

The final game of the season was last Tuesday night at home versus Ste. Cecile and the Bulldogs came away with a 55-43 victory. Riley Sesto had 22 points for General Amherst, who finished with a 1-9 record.

“It was great. We finally won,” said Sesto. “We’ve been working hard all year. There has been a couple of losses we should have won.”

The General Amherst Bulldogs senior boys basketball team’s season is over. Their last game was Feb. 5 and it resulted in their first victory of the year. They had a 1-9 record in WECSSAA play in 2018-19.

Sesto, a Grade 11 student, will be back next season as should most of his teammates.

“Next year, we should have a pretty strong team,” he said.

The key against Ste. Cecile was the fact the Bulldogs played a strong team game, Sesto added.

“We worked really well together. There was a lot of passing,” he said. “We got to use our flex play which we don’t usually get a chance to in games.”

Head coach Frank Palumbo was happy the Bulldogs got a chance to pick up a win before the season concluded.

General Amherst’s Riley Sesto goes up for two of his team-high 22 points during the Bulldogs’ win over Ste. Cecile Feb. 5.

“It was nice for the kids to finish with a win,” he said. “They worked hard all season and were positive all season. We had a lot of close games.”

Palumbo noted everyone is eligible to come back next season and that should help them.

“We’ve got a strong junior program,” he added.

The Bulldogs played the day before at Maranatha but lost 59-51. They did not qualify for the WECSSAA playoffs.

Bulldogs drop to 0-8 with a pair of road losses



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs senior basketball team came back from the exam break with a pair of losses, but the two games were different except for the outcome.

The Bulldogs started the week last Thursday against the UMEI Lightning (4-4) in Leamington with a 35-33 loss but General Amherst was nearly able to complete the comeback. The Bulldogs trailed 19-10 at the half but made it close at the end.

“We started off slow,” said assistant coach Alex Temesy. “We only had ten points in the first half. We finished strong to end the game.”

Temesy said they were unable to get a shot off in the final seconds of the game.

“We ended up making it an exciting game,” he said.

The Bulldogs (0-8) were in Windsor the following day for a game against Lamothe-Cadillac (9-1) with the home team coming away with an 81-44 victory.

Brandon Snippe of UMEI (left) is challenged for
control of the ball by the Bulldogs’ Matteo Palumbo during the second quarter of a WECSSAA Tier II senior boys basketball game last Thursday afternoon. (Photo by Bryan Jessop/Southpoint Sun)

“That’s the best team in the league,” said General Amherst head coach Frank Palumbo, of the Friday night opposition.

“They are a very good team,” agreed Temesy. “They are a big team and very athletic. We lack the size to go up against them.”

Temesy estimated they were outrebounded by about 30. However, he said the Bulldogs didn’t quit despite being down by a lot of points.

“The thing I like about this team is they don’t give up,” said Temesy.

The Bulldogs worked on the things they know and worked hard until the end, he stated, though they were missing one of their better players in Riley Sesto against Lamothe-Cadillac.

They had two games earlier this week against Maranatha and Ste. Cecile.

“We can definitely win those games,” Temesy said, noting Friday night that the Bulldogs were still eyeing a playoff berth. “I think we can break the goose egg.”

Next year’s team should be good, he added, as they will have talented seniors returning with a year’s experience plus some good players coming up from the junior ranks.

Bulldogs still looking for first win in WECSSAA Tier 2 basketball



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs senior boys basketball team is still searching for its first win in WECSSAA Tier 2 league play after another loss last week.

The Bulldogs are now 0-6 in WECSSAA play, not counting tournaments, after a 51-39 loss to Cardinal Carter last Tuesday night at General Amherst. The Bulldogs had a 21-16 halftime advantage but Cardinal Carter outscored Amherst 16-5 in the third quarter to pull away for the victory.

Matteo Palumbo had 13 points while Riley Sesto scored ten for General Amherst.

“(Cardinal Carter) started hitting three (pointers) and we didn’t have an answer,” said General Amherst coach Frank Palumbo. “It was just frustrating.”
Palumbo believes the team could build momentum once they find a way to get a victory.

Matthew Wismer (35) drives to the basket during Amherst’s loss to Cardinal Carter last Tuesday night.

“You need success. Success breeds success,” he said. “Until they can taste victory, it makes it difficult.”

The Bulldogs have a young team, but Palumbo still would like to see some results on the floor.

“They are young, but sooner or later we can’t use that as an excuse,” he said.

Cardinal Carter is a good team, he added, but would like to see his team play with more belief in themselves.

“It’s confidence. It’s confidence in the shot,” he said. “When the shot is not there, attack the basket and have the confidence to do that.”

The Bulldogs have only eight players on the senior basketball team this season and Palumbo is happy with their overall effort.

“They come out and practice and work hard,” he said. “They’re improving. That’s all you want.”

General Amherst’s next game is on the road Jan. 31 at UMEI.

Bulldogs drop to 0-4 after two home court losses last week



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs are 0-4 on the WECSSAA Tier 2 senior boys basketball season, but it’s not for lack of effort.

The Bulldogs most recent game was a 55-37 defeat at the hands of the visiting Essex Red Raiders last Thursday night. Ty Queen led the Bulldogs in scoring with ten points with Riley Sesto scoring seven. Matthew Wismer and Lucas Caradonna each had five points.

General Amherst kept the game close as they trailed by only two points, 19-17, at the half. However, Essex erupted with 22 points in the third quarter, many coming from beyond the three-point line, to pull away.

“They battled,” said General Amherst head coach Frank Palumbo, of his team.

General Amherst’s Riley Sesto puts up a shot as Essex’s Brent Davison defends. Essex won 55-37.

General Amherst lost by about 40 points to the talented Essex squad at a tournament, Palumbo added, so he did see improvement in the Bulldogs.

“We played hard defensively,” he said. “In order to stay in the game, we had to box out all the time. As soon as we missed one, they made us pay. (Essex) is a good team.”

The Bulldogs have only eight players on this year’s senior boys team and one was unavailable against the Red Raiders. Palumbo said they practice with the junior team and do their best despite being short on players.

“They are committed,” stated Palumbo. “They didn’t give up. They work hard.”

This year’s Bulldogs are made up of all Grade 11 players, except one, and he is in Grade 10. Palumbo said their goal was to make the playoffs and they are managing to stay in most games thus far despite a tough early season schedule.

General Amherst is committed to getting better and Palumbo said they have shown a lot of heart thus far.

The Bulldogs other game last week was a 63-49 loss to Westview Freedom Academy last Tuesday at General Amherst. Sesto had 17 points in that game with Caradonna adding 13 and Matteo Palumbo seven.

The lone game for General Amherst this week was in Leamington against the Lions Tuesday, after the printedition of the River Town Times went to press. They will then be off for the Christmas holidays with their first game in 2019 being at home Jan. 15 versus Cardinal Carter.

Local coach to be inducted into Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame



By Ron Giofu


A coach who has led General Amherst High School basketball teams to numerous boys and girls championships is getting a significant honour himself.

Domenic Silvaggio will be inducted into the Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame this fall. The news went public last week that Silvaggio will be part of the class of 2018.

Silvaggio got the word in late-June that he was likely to be inducted this year and the official word came last week. He will be inducted as part of the builder’s category.

“It was kind of nice to hear, that’s for sure,” he said.

Silvaggio added he was at a “loss for words” when the call came that he was a soon-to-be Hall of Famer.

“There’s been quite a few people asking me about it (in past years),” he said. “I said it’s something I have no control over. If it comes, it comes.”

Now that the honour has come, Silvaggio is sharing it with many of his peers. That includes many coaches within the elementary and the Amherstburg Basketball Club system especially those who were involved with both systems including Karl Wightman, Frank Palumbo, Vic DiNardo, Jim Belcher, Dale Prisley, John VandeBovenkamp, Tim Dodds, Amy Bondy and Brad Bondy.

Among those that helped him along the way have also included Ross Scott, Mike Nedin and Dave Scott.

“These guys were influential in getting me into coaching,” he said.

Nicole Rusenstrom was also thanked for her help with teams in recent years.

Special thanks was given to Greg Scott and Don Parks, who were recognized for their many years of coaching with Silvaggio. He also recognized his son Stephen, who both played and coached with him and now has his own basketball program at Kennedy.

“All the coaches should be sharing this with me as well,” he said.

General Amherst coach Dom Silvaggio (centre) goes over a play during a timeout of a Nov. 2017 game against Kennedy. Silvaggio’s accomplishments over his coaching career have landed him a spot in the Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be in October.

Fundraisers for the local basketball programs have included Ross Scott, Parks, Greg Scott and Palumbo plus the many players and parents that helped out.

Parents have also been of great help over the years.

“They always had my back, driving the kids to all parts of Ontario,” he said.

The players were also thanked, with Silvaggio noting that none of the championship teams he has coached would have been possible without the hard work of the players. He recalled championship teams that would win a tournament on a Saturday and come home and want to practice on the Sunday.

“That’s the dedication and drive they had,” said Silvaggio. “Without that, you aren’t going to win anything.”

While the dedication of players and parents were pointed out, so too were the efforts of his fellow teachers and administrators as well.

“It makes my job a heck of a lot easier when you have that,” he said.

Silvaggio gave special thanks to his family, including wife Susan, son Stephen and daughter Kim. Kim also played for her father during her time at General Amherst.

“Without their support, I wouldn’t have been able to put in the time,” he said. “There were a lot of weekends away, that’s for sure.”

Among the accomplishments on Silvaggio’s resume include 26 WECSSAA/ECSSAA championships between boys and girls basketball teams. He has coached 13 SWOSSAA championship teams and the senior girls program he has overseen won ten consecutive medals at OFSAA at either the “AA” or “AAA” level, including five gold medals, three silver medals and two bronze medals at the provincial championship tournament.

Silvaggio’s teams have also won two gold medals and one silver at the senior boys Ontario District High School Championships and two golds in Division 2 at the Basketball Ontario Cup boys championship with the Amherstburg Basketball Club.

Silvaggio has won the most basketball OFSAA championships and medals as a coach in the Windsor/Essex area. His league and playoff win totals at the high school level top 600 and that number swells to 1,000 overall wins when tournaments are factored in.

The 2006 General Amherst Lady Gens senior girls team was selected as the top high school team of the year regardless of size by a committee of coaches and administrators from throughout Ontario.

In 2007, the senior girls won the Super 12 tournament which included the eventual OFSAA “AAAA” gold, silver and bronze medal winners as well as the OFSAA “AAA” gold, silver and bronze medal winners for that year. The Lady Gens won the “AA” gold that year.

From 2004-2013, the General Amherst senior girls basketball team had a record of 197-9 in WECSSAA, SWOSSAA and OFSAA league and playoff games. Silvaggio said most of those were at the Tier 1 level after WECSSAA started the tier system. Those teams had a 45-5 record in OFSAA play during that time span to go along with their ten straight medals.

Silvaggio was one of the founders and president for over 20 years of the Amherstburg Basketball Club. He said the Amherstburg Basketball Club was started to enhance and promote the game of basketball for the youth who lived in the Amherstburg area.

One of the teams Domenic Silvaggio (far right) coached to an OFSAA basketball championship were the 2011 General Amherst Lady Gens senior girls team (File photo – Special to the RTT)

“There were hundreds of children who played either house league or travel or both,” he said. “Many of the youth who were a part of this program probably would not have played basketball at the competitive and house league level if not for this club.”

Silvaggio believes he is one of only three high school basketball coaches to go into the Windsor-Essex Sports Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be Oct. 19 at the Ciociaro Club.

Since the news went public, Silvaggio added he has been receiving many messages of congratulations.

“It’s nice,” he said. “It’s an honour but I’d like to share this with all of the other coaches.”

Other inductees into the Windsor-Essex Sports Hall of Fame include Paul Carter (basketball), J. Paul Reddam (horse racing) and Don Marrin (wrestling) in the builder’s category; golfer Cheryll Damphouse, boxer Mary Spencer, hockey player Andy Delmore and basketball player Richard Shaw going in as part of the athletes category.

The Tecumseh Baseball Club and the 2011-15 University of Windsor Lancer women’s basketball team will be inducted under the club and team category.